Paris takes over top spot in standings with 4-1 win over Lady Cats

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Feb. 27, 2007 - With a slim lead in the district standings and facing the No. 2 team in district before Monday night, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats' Senior Night did not go the way they had planned.

The Paris Lady Cats won, 4-1, on the Prim pitch and Sulphur Springs now sits in third place in the District 16-4A standings at 4-1-0-1 with 13 points.

SSHS (9-5-2) will face another crucial game Saturday against North Lamar at Gerald Prim Stadium before playing their final three games on the road to end the regular season. North Lamar beat Texas High 3-0 to take over second place.

"It is a big opportunity for us since we dropped from first to third after last night with North Lamar winning," said SSHS head coach Martin Bryant. "We are one point behind North Lamar, and if we win on Saturday then we move into that second place spot and we will be ready for that game."

With Senior Night being held on Monday instead of their final game on Saturday against North Lamar, the home team came out flat as Paris controlled the pace of the game.

The Paris defense found ways to stop Lady Cats forward Gayle Grand-Lienard - who leads the team in goals with 22 - by double-teaming her when she dribbled into the 18-yard box.

"It was a tough district matchup. I thought we played hard and it was one of those things were the ball did not bounce our way. We played hard and I can't doubt our effort," Bryant said.

"Paris did a good job of getting back, and from the midfield I thought that we could have pushed harder and maybe spread their defense out, but we weren't able to do that."

Paris broke open a 0-0 tie with 23:48 remaining on the first half clock when Taren Taylor took a pass from sister Brooke Taylor and knocked a header past Lady Cats goalie Kai'la Petty for the 1-0 lead.

With 16:02 remaining, Brooke Taylor scored her first goal of the game on a nice cross past Petty for the 2-0 lead.

"Paris had some things happen for them and a couple of their goals that may only happen once in their career," the coach said. "We looked at the film today and we had them marked up and we were where we were supposed to be. They made a great play and their was not much we could do.

"You look back and it hurts to lose, but to lose that way - as hard as we played - we can live with that."

Sulphur Springs had a chance to get on the scoreboard when Amanda Stoutenberg blasted a shot off of the post during an offensive flurry against goalie Stephanie Clifford at the 13:30 mark, but the Lady Cats could not capitalize on the rebound attempt.

Paris then scored its third goal of the first half as Darby Pierce sent a corner kick into play and Aivee Tabangora scored with 10:20 remaining to put the game out of reach for the home team.

In the second half, Paris kept the ball on its offensive side of the field throughout the majority of the final 40 minutes of play and scored its fourth goal with 19:16 remaining went Brooke Taylor cashed in on an assist from Tabangora for the 4-0 lead.

In the 79th minute of play, freshman forward Karlie Junot scored the Lady Cats' lone goal of the game with a shot past Clifford.

Bryant said both teams played a physical game, but during the Lady Cats' 5-2 win over Paris in their first meeting, the team played tougher defense.

"I think the first time that we played them was more physical," he said. "There was eight yellow cards in that game and this was a pretty physical game. Paris is big and tall and they win those balls in the middle."

Note: After Saturday's game, the Lady Cats play their final three regular season games on the road. ... The Lady Cats have 10 seniors on the soccer team that will play their final home game against North Lamar this Saturday. ... Bryant said Pleasant Grove has been eliminated from playoff contention and the loser in the Mount Pleasant-Texas High game will also be out of contention.

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